Manthali is a village in eastern Nepal, located in the Ramechhap district. Its population is 7,500 (2013 Census). The majority of people work in agriculture, growing rice, wheat and corn. Very few women work outside the home. They mainly work raising their families and focusing on agriculture, planting grass, and rice. Those that do work outside the home become nurses, teachers and shopkeepers. The majority of women marry at 15-19 years old. The literacy rate in Ramechhap is 55% for females and 65% for males. From VDC & Demographic Profile of Nepal 2013; Mega Publication & Research Center, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Initially, the founders of smartketi spent time at the local hospital, Tamakoshi Cooperative Hospital, in Manthali in 2014. They established close relationships with the local community. They found very progressive minded people, wanting to improve themselves, and found a window of opportunity for maximal impact. Although Manthali was a rapidly developing village at the brink of economic development, they found a marginalization of women and indigenous populations. They decided to try their initial smartbracelet idea in this village, not knowing what to expect. In just a few years, they found success, not only with economic development, but more importantly, with womens' social development.
After our first project, it noticed so many positive changes. It easily decided to set up Manthali as a base for innovation.